Journal of Public Health and Primary Care

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30--35

A cross-sectional study to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices towards road traffic safety regulations among college going students of himalayan region, Uttarakhand, India


Swati Sharma, Neha Sharma, Shaili Vyas, Jayanti Semwal 
 Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Neha Sharma
Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Rama Himalayan University, Jolly Grant, Dehradun - 248 016, Uttarakhand
India

Abstract

Background: As per WHO, nearly 1.33 million people die every year due to road traffic accidents (RTAs) all over the world. 10% of the annual average of road traffic accidents cases occurs in India. Aims and Objective: To determine the knowledge, attitude and practices related to road safety rules among college students. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on 102 college students through a pre-tested questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version-23) software, Chicago, USA, was used for data analysis. Results: 91.3% of the college students knew the right age for getting a driving license but only 24.5% students responded correctly for the blood alcohol concentration while driving. Most of the study participants had good attitude towards road traffic rules and regulations, driving license, road signs & symbols. 63-65% of the study participants responded that they always wear belt or helmet while driving and keep a specific speed limit while driving, and never used mobile phone or play loud music while driving. Conclusion: RTAs can be minimized by strict enforcement of regulations by the road traffic police and through frequent road traffic awareness. But the self-responsibility by the drivers should also be there to bring about drastic change in minimizing RTAs.



How to cite this article:
Sharma S, Sharma N, Vyas S, Semwal J. A cross-sectional study to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices towards road traffic safety regulations among college going students of himalayan region, Uttarakhand, India.J Public Health Prim Care 2020;1:30-35


How to cite this URL:
Sharma S, Sharma N, Vyas S, Semwal J. A cross-sectional study to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices towards road traffic safety regulations among college going students of himalayan region, Uttarakhand, India. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Mar 1 ];1:30-35
Available from: http://www.jphpc.com/text.asp?2020/1/1/30/305988


Full Text



 Introduction



According to World Health Organisation (WHO) approximately every year 1.35 million people die due to road traffic collision all over the world. It is one of the important causes of disability worldwide as nearly 20-50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries due to Road traffic accidents (RTAs). Most of the road traffic deaths are confided to low- and middle-income countries.[1] As per the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, Road traffic accidents accounts for one of the leading and preventable cause of death among the young adults age group 15-29 year especially in developing countries and affects their GDP.[2] The Haddon matrix describes the various risk factors like vehicle, environmental and human for RTAs.[3] The main reasons for road traffic accident are found to be increasing over speed, poor following to traffic rules, driving while drinking, not bear seat belts and helmets, using mobile phone while driving, and poor road design.[4] Young people usually encounter fatal collisions as compare to adults due to distracted driving.[5] If effective actions are not taken timely, it is predicted 2.4 million deaths each year will be due to RTAs.[1] According to a report published by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 56 accidents occur every hour in India and nearly 14 people are killed in these accidents. India contributes to one in every 10 deaths due to RTAs worldwide. Road traffic injuries constituted the eighth leading cause of death in India in 2018.[6] The biggest impact of RTAs are on the younger generation where 60% of Disability Adjusted life year (DALYs) caused due to road traffic accident is among the age group of (15-44) years, wherein 73% are males who is the productive and earning member for the families.[7] Though, there are acts and laws for reducing road traffic accidents, still RTAs poses a great burden. Road traffic injuries and death can be prevented if there is effective implication of road safety interventions. Younger population being the future of our country holds great responsibility not only in increasing awareness regarding road safety but also in setting an example for others to adopt and improve healthy behaviour. Thus, the present study was planned to assess the knowledge and attitude regarding the road traffic safety rules and to determine the extent of adherence to road traffic safety rules by the college going students of Uttarakhand.

 Methodology



Study Design - Descriptive Cross-sectional study.

Study Tools – Pre-designed, pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire via Google Forms.

Study Duration – 4 months.

Study Population- Students aged >18 years of age.

Study Subjects- Students of various Professional courses. Respondent who was a social media user and gave consent to participate in the study. Forms that had >20% of the data missing were excluded from the study.

Sample Size- Total 102 students were enrolled in the study.

Sampling Technique- Convenient sampling technique.

Data collection: Data was collected through Google forms.

Section A consisted of questions pertaining to sociodemographic details.Section B had questions related to knowledge and attitude regarding road traffic safety rules.Section C had questions related to the practices opted by the study participants to prevent road traffic accidents.

Study procedure

A pilot study was executed on 20 individuals and necessary changes were made in the form. Through convenient sampling technique study participants were enrolled in the study via e-mails and other social media Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. With all the necessary instructions, the final google forms having both closed ended as well as open-ended questions was forwarded to the study participants. The study participants were requested to fill the Google form and forward the link of google form to their friends and acquaintances to fetch more responses from their network.

Ethical consideration

Owing to the ethical consideration, before commencing the study, permission was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee. As study participants were invited through social media i.e., via email/WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram, a brief description/instruction regarding the research purpose was made clear to them. Their participation in the study was only after they gave confirmation to the consent form. Privacy and confidentiality of the collected information were ensured.

Statistical analysis

Data was entered in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software (version 23). All the continuous variables are described as mean ± standard deviation and all the categorical variables are conferred in terms of frequencies and proportions. Microsoft excel was used for making graphs, charts.

 Results



The present study was conducted on 102 college going students. There were 50 (49.0%) females and 52 (51.0%) males in the study. Mean age of female study participants was 21.25 years while that of male participants was 22.14 years. [Table 1] and [Table 2] shows the socio-demographic details of the study participants. [Table 3] shows the correct and incorrect responses by the study participants with respect to knowledge regarding road traffic safety regulations. Majority (91.3%) college students knew the right age for getting a driving license. Very few (24.5%) students responded correctly for the blood alcohol concentration while driving. As depicted from [Table 4], Most of the study participants had good attitude towards road traffic rules and regulations, driving license, road signs & symbols.{Table 1}{Table 2}{Table 3}{Table 4}

[Graph 1] shows that major reason for speeding up the vehicle by the study participants was delay in daily routine (51.96%) and least (0.98%) was empty roads.[INLINE:1]

[Table 5] describes the practice by the students to follow road traffic safety rules and prevent road traffic accidents. 63-65% study participants responded that they always wear belt or helmet while driving and keep a specific speed limit while driving, and never used mobile phone or play loud music while driving. More than 75% study participants always use indicators while turning and blow horn while overtaking. Majority (82.4%) responded that they never drank alcohol while driving.{Table 5}

[Graph 2] shows the response by the study participants for road traffic accidents. Maximum (36.8%) said that high speed up is first reason followed by alcohol influence (26.4%) which is the second most common reason, and third most common reason is mixed traffic (18.9%).[INLINE:2]

[Graph 3] shows the response by the study participants to prevent road traffic accidents. First reason stated by the study participants to prevent road traffic accidents is following road traffic rules (18.8%) and driving tests (18.8%) respectively. Third most common reason is speed limitations in the city (15.1%).[INLINE:3]

 Discussion



Road traffic accidents remains one of the major public health problems with high case fatality rate. Youngsters have significantly higher risk of having road traffic injuries and deaths as compared to other age groups.[8] Road traffic safety awareness is the most important aspect towards safety concern for the college going students. The present study had nearly equal number of male and female participants. In the current study 91percent students knew the right age for getting a driving license. This finding is similar with a study conducted in Chennai among the dental students.[9] While Ranjan DP et al. reported even much higher figures for this.[10] More than fifty percent of the study participants in this study knew the correct speed limit for driving in the city. Other studies have reported 55-66 percent of the study participants having correct knowledge for speed limit in the city.[9],[10] Regarding recently updated penalty for driving without license nearly 42 percent of the study participants had incorrect knowledge for the same. The findings were in contrast to the study by Senthil et al.[9] However, Srivastava et al. reported in their study that less than 15 percent of study participants knew correct maximum grace period for expired driving license renewal.[11] Reason for this may be that in Uttarakhand there is leniency for road traffic rules, even the preliminary tests conducted before issuing driving license are not strict. Though the government is trying to implement strict enforcement in issuing license still it looks like a long way to go.

In this study, nearly 83 percent of the study participants had correct knowledge of traffic lights, surprisingly the findings reported by Ranjan DP et al. and Mahawar et al. had much lower values.[10],[12] The basic knowledge regarding traffic lights are inculcated right from childhood days, if this issue is addressed it can help in preventing RTAs. Very few (24.5%) students responded correctly for the blood alcohol concentration while driving in our study, the findings were in sync with previous studies.[10],[11],[13] There were around 35.3 percent study participants in this study which answered incorrectly for the side where they should have to drive. Findings were almost in sync with the previous studies.[10],[12],[14] Even the WHO has reported that among road traffic deaths, 27 percent deaths occur among the pedestrians and cyclists.[15] This matter should be put into consideration as it could contribute to high RTAs.

More than 90% of the study participants in the present study agreed to that pedestrian must be given importance regarding their security, the findings were similar to Ranjan DP et al. where 86 percent participants believed the same. The study participants had good attitude towards road traffic rules and regulations, driving license, road signs & symbols, however the findings did not correspond to the previous research.[10] It is of prime importance that good attitude plays a major role in changing the behaviour and practice of the people, thus this should be encouraged right from childhood.

Regarding practice, in this study, nearly 67 percent of the study participants always wore helmets while 8.8 percent never, a previous study also reported low helmet usage in which 30 percent wore helmet regularly while 49 percent occasionally.[11] Sharma and Saini also reported that 54 percent of their study participants never wore helmet while driving.[4] 65 percent of the study participants never used mobile phone or play loud music while driving. Similar findings have been reported by Sharma and Saini[4] and Jogand S et al.[16] More than 75 percent of study participants always use indicators while turning and blow horn while overtaking, the findings were better than the observations by Ranjan DP et al., Salve et al., Yilmaz et al., Singh et al., Trivedi and Rawal.[10],[17],[18],[19],[20]

Limitations

As the study was conducted through google forms, misinformation bias and acquiescence bias could not be ruled out as students might have tried to project good knowledge and attitude. Small sample size poses the generalizability issue.

 Conclusion



This study revealed that many college going students had good knowledge and attitude towards road traffic safety rules & regulations and majority of the students wear seat belts, helmets, use indicators and blow horn while driving. Students do feel that high speed and alcohol leads to most of the road traffic accidents. This can only be minimized by the strict enforcement of regulations by the road traffic police authorities and through periodic traffic awareness campaigns and road safety measures via signboards, posters, and mass media.

A multi-disciplinary approach i.e., involving psychologists, sociologists, vehicle experts, doctors, and engineers for better designing of roads and traffic planning should be adopted. Drivers should develop more empathy towards other co-drivers and people walking on street. Primary care physicians can play an important role in preventing RTAs by adopting repeated advocacy measures, training the community people and handling the RTA patients, providing good hospital care along with timely referrals and managing rehabilitative services for people residing in remote areas.[21] The primary care physicians should help in capacity building and train the people for best utilization of golden & platinum hours before hospital care are provided. Road safety should be the part of the universal health coverage in India in order to regulate the cost of medical services.[22] There is still scanty concentration by the government in this zone as there is no particular agency where RTAs falls in. The vehicle issues, road planning, road safety legislations all come in divergent sectors leaving no one accountable. There is a need for adopting system approach taking experience from developed countries for cutting the figures of RTAs.[23] A safe place, a better world lies in the hands of people, society, community and government. Their meagre roles can shape up the future generation.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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